This article will look at 5 common bodybuilding myths that beginners can and do fall victim to.
As I have repeatedly previously stated the health and fitness industry is full of bad information everywhere you look, so you should be wary of the sources from which you glean your information. Don’t be a sucker to misleading mainstream advice.
If you’re just commencing your bodybuilding journey and just starting out in the gym, be aware of these bodybuilding myths and avoid wasting countless future hours in the gym spinning your wheels making zero progress.
5 Bodybuilding Myths
1.The bigger the “pump” you get during your workout, the bigger your muscle growth.
Many bodybuilders preach that when you attain the revered pump you are putting more nutrients into the muscle and thus enhancing muscle growth, but is that what actually happens?
We can partly blame Arnold for this myth – he famously stated that the pump was like “coming” in that unforgettable scene in “Pumping Iron”.
The muscle pump is admitedly a pleasant sensation but all that is actually occurring is a muscle becoming engorged with blood from capillary action.
The blood is effectively ‘stuck’ inside the muscle, which creates that worshiped tight and full look and feel.
A pump however can be achieved easily by any repetitious action under a minor load.
You can get a great pump easily just by doing high repetitions with a light weight but it will not build muscle. For example swimming gives me an amazing pump but doesent increase my muscle size. The actions of swimming by no means equate to the muscular intensity needed to promote hypertrophy.
The same is true of the coveted ‘burn’ which is simply the tangible effects of lactic acid build up, a by-product of chemical respiration. It is not a prerequisite of muscular hypertrophy. For hypertrophy to occur, you need to subject the muscles to increasing levels of tension. This is best achieved by the utilisation of progressively increasing loads.
Training intensity is the determining factor not the size of the pump.
2. Doing high repetitions will “define/tone” your muscles.
Another of the bodybuilding myths that have been doing the rounds forever – perpetuated mainly by the muscle mags. Increasing muscular definition is acheved by lowering bodyfat levels. This can be assisted by increasing activity and thus burning more calories. If you are going to use activity to burn fat you would probably be better off doing cardio. Doing higher reps in your training however will not define the muscle. Definition is primarily a function of diet.
Additionally if you wish to get ‘cut’ and ‘ripped’ then be prepared to drop your body fat levels into the single digits and unless you are chemically enhanced also be prepared to lose muscle size.
3.The more frequently that you train, the bigger and faster your muscular gains.
Not true either. You must ascertain the optimal frequency for your own genetic make up. If you train too frequently you will overtrain or worse become injured or ill. Professional bodybuilders are able to train more frequently and derive increased size and strength as a result. However their recuperate powers are greatly enhanced by their intake of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.
Remember that you do not get stronger in the gym you get stronger and bigger when you rest, sleep, eat and recover.
4. In order to become big and strong you need to perform a large variety of exercises:
This is not the case. More advanced trainees will benefit from variety admitedly, by periodically changing exercises but many exercises, especially those used to isolate muscles, are ineffective for those trainees on the beginning of their journey who are attempting to gain size and strength. This foundation of strength and size should be built by using compound multi-joint movements in a progressive resistance training protocol.
“You do not need to do many different exercises to get big and strong – you need to get strong on a very few important exercises, movements that train the whole body as a system, not as a collection of separate body parts. The problem with the programs advocated by all the national exercise organisations is that they fail to recognize this basic principle: the body best adapts as a whole organism to stress applied to the whole organism. The more stress that can be applied to as much of the body at one time as possible, the more effective and productive the adaptation will be.”
5. Train Like A Professional Bodybuilder To Obtain Optimal results.
One of the more harmful bodybuilding myths. Imitating the training routine of the ‘champion’ bodybuilder is one of the most costly mistakes a beginner can make and is one of the biggest misconceptions in the exercise world. This is because the ‘instruction’ from elite bodybuilders has no relevance for average people who are without gifted genetic potential and are bodybuilding drug-free.
The traditional 5-7 day splits, double splits, 5 or more exercises per muscle group, 25 set chest routines etc is training suicide for the average trainee not spending hundreds of pounds a week on “special suppliments.”
The books and magazines will tell you that their supplements, ‘better training,’ and greater dedication are the ‘secrets’ of the champions. What they don’t tell you is that the drugs and superior genetics were primarily responsible for their level of development.
In truth elite bodybuilders are probably the last people you should turn to for advice, especially if you are a natural athlete and genetically average.